There are mounting calls for government to strengthen law enforcement in KwaZulu-Natal’s rural communities to curb the scourge of farm attacks.
This comes after a woman (56) was brutally attacked and hacked with a panga during a farm attack in Middelrus — between Mooi River and Greytown — on Tuesday evening. It is alleged that a group of people attacked the woman while she was in her farmhouse.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said Mooi River police officers were conducting patrol duties when they received information about a woman who was attacked at her home by unknown people. Mbele said the police then went to the woman’s home where they found her with injuries to the body, head and legs.
“The victim alleged that she was attacked with a bush knife by unknown people. The motive for the attack is unknown. A case of attempted murder was opened for investigation,” she said.
Mbele added that it was unknown if anything was taken from the farmhouse since the woman was in a critical condition.
The incident comes hot on the heels of another alleged attack on a family by five armed men on their farm in Moor Park, on the outskirts of Estcourt, on Monday.
It is alleged that Malcolm Moor (85), his wife Doreen (81) and their son John were held at gunpoint and handcuffed by five armed men who had made their way onto the farm.
According to Alf Lees, MP uThukela constituency head for the DA, the family were held at gunpoint and handcuffs were used to immobilise them before being locked in a room.
It is alleged that the gunmen assaulted Malcolm, who had just been in intensive care in hospital, before they helped themselves to jewellery and guns.
The DA in KZN has raised concerns about the increase in farm attacks in the province in the past few weeks. Martin Meyer, MPL and DA KZN spokesperson on agriculture and rural development, said there was no denying that crime in KZN’s rural areas was once again on the rise.
He said while the pattern of increased crime in such regions ahead of the holiday season was well-known, it seemed that both the police and provincial department had been caught completely unawares.
“This is evidenced by their failure to put proactive measures in place to deal with this matter,” he said.
He said the negative impact of the severe Covid-19 lockdown, coupled with the July unrest in the province, had a devastating effect on food security in the country.
South Africans could not afford to see the security of the farms deteriorate any further, he added.
KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) chief executive Sandy La Marque believes that there is not much being done to ensure that farmers are protected.
La Marque said there is a national rural safety strategy that clearly outlines the roles and responsibilities of police in rural areas.
“One of the specific functions are visible policing patrols. Recently during a survey from across the province our members informed us that SAPS are not doing their duties,” said La Marque.